Being a small-business owner certainly has its risks and challenges. As a merger and acquisitions associate and a banker, Mike Burbank and Nick DeSimone were privy to the hardships of owning a business. But they also had real insight into the great rewards of entrepreneurship — and they decided it was a risk worth exploring.

“Our third partner, Jason Otke, and his partners at Dick Otke Construction Co., had experience building tunnel car washes throughout the United States,” DeSimone says. “Jason felt this type of car wash might be something that Jefferson City may benefit from.”

According to DeSimone, the men were attracted to the idea of a tunnel car wash for a few key reasons; at the time, Jefferson City didn’t have a car wash in that format, the speed was _E3Y5351_JC_CityCharacterNOV_WEBunbeatable, and the service was unparalleled. They got to work gathering information and researching the feasibility of opening the doors to a car wash. In August 2006, their vision became reality when Kwik Kar Wash and Detail opened for business.

Although the lagging economy hurt many small-business owners, DeSimone and his partners not only survived, but they also thrived.

“We have been very fortunate to have grown our business even through some of the worst financial times that the country has ever seen,” he says. “I attribute the growth of our business to hard work, perseverance, an exceptional staff and the desire to be good at what we do.”

Since Kwik Kar Wash’s inception in 2006, Jefferson City has embraced and supported the business, which, as of this past March, became the only locally owned and operated full-service car wash in Jefferson City. And just as Jefferson City has embraced the car wash, the men behind Kwik Kar Wash have embraced the city by making a firm commitment to give back to the community that supports them. Upon starting the business, they started the Kwik Kar Community Care Fundraising Program, which allows organizations to raise funds through the sale of car wash services.

“Since opening in 2006, the Kwik Kar Fundraising Program has helped raise over $100,000 for various schools, churches, youth teams, charities and other local organizations in the Jefferson City area,” DeSimone says. “It is important for us to give back to the community so that our customers know that every dime they spend with us goes directly back into the community.”

Small businesses create jobs for the community and have a vested interest in the areas they operate, DeSimone says, because their success depends on it. And those who patronize locally owned establishments allow that community support to continue.

DeSimone describes a reciprocal relationship in which consumers spend locally, which allows those local businesses to then invest back into the community. “When dollars are spent on goods and services that are not provided by local business people, it adversely affects community strength,” he says. “Those dollars leave the community and usually do not come back. The dollars you spend at Kwik Kar stay in the Jefferson City community.”

Although Burbank and DeSimone were not born in Jefferson City, they relocated with their families to Jefferson City in their early teens. Between them, they graduated from Jefferson City High School, Helias High School, the University of Missouri and Lincoln University. Since then, they have become thoroughly ingrained in the community. Burbank’s wife, Sara, teaches at Immaculate Conception, and DeSimone’s wife, Carrie, teaches at Belair.

“While none of us were considered Jefferson City natives, we all developed a love for the Jefferson City community due to the friendships and experiences we created after moving here,” DeSimone says. “Mike and I always knew that we eventually wanted to make Jefferson City the home for our own families and business. Over the past 25 years, we have enjoyed becoming a part of the Jefferson City community, and we look forward to raising our families and growing our business here for 50 or 60 more years.”

As they look toward the future, the team behind Kwik Kar Wash will continue to search for ways to provide better service and convenience to customers. DeSimone and Burbank are currently exploring the possibilities of expanded services and additional locations in mid-Missouri.